Sabah teacher crowned nation’s best

KUALA LUMPUR: A chemistry teacher from Sabah is the winner of the inaugural Malaysia Teacher Prize, which comes with a RM50,000 award.

Anuthra Sirisena (pic), of SMJK Chung Hwa, Tenom, integrates technology and gamification in her classroom, and has contributed to her school consistently being in the top 10 schools for SPM chemistry in Sabah. Outside of the classroom, she is the co-founder of Tenom Innovation Centre (TIC), a makerspace which has trained over 2,000 teachers and students from rural schools in robotics and coding.

As the winner of the inaugural award, Anuthra hopes to use the prize money to expand TIC and build a “Pedalaman Makers-Hub”, which will connect four districts in interior Sabah.

“I am humbled to be the winner of the first Malaysia Teacher Prize. Being a teacher has always been a passion and I am so proud of what my students and I have achieved.

“I am proud to represent my fellow colleagues in uplifting the teaching profession in Malaysia,” she said in a press release.

The award, organised by Pemimpin GSL with the support of YTL Foundation, recognises the outstanding contributions of teachers nationwide and is a part of YTL Foundation’s 25th anniversary celebrations this year. The event was held at a hotel here last night.

The Malaysia Teacher Prize is an annual award that celebrates Malaysian teachers and is designed to support their efforts in creating a sustainable impact not only for their students but communities beyond their schools.

Anuthra’s dedication towards the profession and to ensuring every student in their classroom achieves their full potential is admirable and one of the key factors that led her to win the prize.

Pemimpin GSL chief executive officer Cheryl Ann Fernando and its programme director, Samuel Isaiah, expressed confidence that Anuthra would represent the prize well and showcase her efforts to the larger teaching fraternity.

“The many applications received for the Malaysia Teacher Prize this year are just the tip of the iceberg and there are many more amazing teachers in Malaysia who work tirelessly to improve the lives of their students,” they said in the statement. Over 800 applications were received by the organiser from May 10 to July 17.

YTL Foundation programme director Datuk Kathleen Chew said the Malaysia Teacher Prize serves as a platform to spotlight and celebrate the work of teachers who make a difference in the lives of their students, the community and the Malaysian education ecosystem as a whole.

“As we celebrate the foundation’s 25th anniversary, we are delighted to have supported this landmark prize in our storied journey of championing education and empowering communities,” she said.

The top 10 finalists of the Malaysia Teacher Prize will be leading interactive classroom sessions at the Leaps of Knowledge conference from 8.30am to 5pm at the JW Marriott, Kuala Lumpur, today.

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